Saturday, December 13, 2014

Reaching the end

Guatemala...
When I had my T100 for a couple of weeks, I said I hoped it would do 100,000km. Today, in the Swiss Alps, I got what I hoped for. Not only did it reach 100,000km, it also did it with no problems at all. Nothing went wrong. Nothing needed replacing. It simply clicked over from 99999.9 to 00000.0 and just kept on going like nothing had happened. The speedo reached the end today but the bike just kept going. 

England...
I'm aware there are more bikes in this world that have covered the same distance or even more. But how many have done so without needing any repair, I'm not sure. For me it's perhaps extra special as I'm riding a Triumph Bonneville, a type of motorcycle which hadn't been that reliable for me in the past. I had a 1971 model that was a disaster and a 1976 model that had been only slightly less of a disaster. Of course the old Triumph has nothing to do with the new one, but still. I've also done quite a bit more with mine than just Sunday rides in nice weather at a leisurely pace. This Bonnie has been on roads that tried to batter it to death. The first 40,000 km had been mostly with a pillion, the last 60,000 km it has covered with a load of luggage on our trip around the world. It has run on fuel that was so bad that our Coleman stove wouldn't even burn it! Been plastered in mud for days. Been soaking wet for weeks and hasn't been kept in a garage either.

Alaska...


Norway...
I've had more motorcycles in my life, and several that have covered a respectable distance, but this is the one that has taken me literally around the world. It has been without a shadow of a doubt the most reliable one too. We've spend many many hours together, roaming this beautiful planet. Rain, hail or shine it just kept on going. It held its own in BMW GS territory in Alaska and Guatemala. Riding the many mountain passes of Austria and Italy it gave me just as much fun, if not more, as when I would have been riding a more conventional travel bike. 

Maintenance has been minimal. I've changed the oil and filter every 5,000 km. The fuel filter in the tank is still the original one. I've checked the valve clearances twice during those 100,000 km. Fork oil has been changed twice and there have been chains, sprockets and brake pads… and that's it.

USA, Canyonlands...
It has charged my laptop, camera batteries and a host of other little batteries without a problem. The wheel bearings are original. Even the light globes are still original... A while back I read a question from someone who wondered if the Bonneville was suitable as a travel bike... For me it has been the best travel bike I could have hoped for as I couldn't have done the trip I'm on now when I had to buy something new before I left.


Belize...
Does the above make me a Triumph fan? Actually, no! The current Triumph factory, to me, is like a photocopier. They don't design anything themselves. The 800 Tiger is a BMW 800GS copy, including the BMW beak. The Explorer is a 1200GS copy. The Daytona is a cross between the R6 and the CBR600. The Thunderbird tries to be a Harley and the Rocket is a copy of a Massey Ferguson with two wheels missing. The 'new' Trophy is again a BMW copy. The new Triumph hasn't designed anything new, they only look at what sells well for the competition and then copy it. When the Japanese did the same in the 60s and 70s, we booed them for it. Now that Triumph is using the same technique, we have to applaud them for doing so well…? Not me. They even copy the names they give their bikes from the old Triumph, BSA and Velocette.

Austria...
I do applaud the boys and girls in the Hinckley factory though, where they made our Bonnevilles, for making a very good product. The Bonneville has exceeded all my expectations, even the one on how long I hoped it would last. The speedo has reached the end, but the Bonnie hasn't. I now hope I can add another 100,000 on the clock as I still have to go home :-) but if I would have to buy a new bike, and for some reason something else than a Bonneville, then it wouldn't be a Triumph. Before I left I asked Triumph in Australia what sort mileage I could expect from a Bonnie. They didn't know, there weren't any known engine weeknesses that they knew of as no-one had done that many kms on them. It did the first 100,000 km without breaking a sweat. Although strictly speaking it will never reach 100,000 km as the odometer doesn't go any further than 99999... Maybe Triumph hadn't expected anyone to ride that many kms on them. The Bonnie and me just started again from 0 and hopefully adding another 100,000 :-)

Here we go again… :-)

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